Saturday, December 30, 2006

Playin' Around

Well, now that I've got time on my hands, I've found some lovely ways to fool around.

In the mood for a lovely, wintery game? Try Winterbells. It's charming and amazingly addictive. And the music is so soothing.

Want something more upbeat and graphic? Try these squares.

Did you know you can play Battleship online? I loved this game as a kid.

I've discovered I'm quite good at online miniature golf...better than I am in person.

How's your aim at tossing paper into the trash can? You can practice here.

Or if you just want to mindless pop bubblewrap? Go crazy here.

Oh, and in case you need to send some holiday thank-yous before you can play without guilt? Well, here you go.

Good thing I didn't discover all of this before I got my work done.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Back to the living

Well, I made it through my massive work project. I have logged something like 60 billable hours in the last week, and I'm pretty tired. But all is done and filed in court and now I have at least a week with no work to do. Plus, there's a big check coming for all these hours so that's handy.

Yesterday, having been to bed at 3:30 am, I woke up at 10am, spent a few more hour on the computer and phone to make sure all the work got to the secretary and was ready for filing, then went back to bed and slept solidly from 1 to 5 pm. I rose, had dinner, and was ready for bed by 9pm. I sure can't do late nights any more, and when I do I take forever to recover.

BUT today I am back among the living. I have had breakfast with Roger and Caroline, I've put away two loads of laundry and have more going, I've tidied up Christmas debris and vacuumed the whole downstairs, I've loaded Itunes on Caroline's computer so she can manage her own brand new Ipod, I've put my work files away (out of sight, out of mind!) and I've made a grocery shopping list. I don't think I've been out of the house in 6 days, so an excursion to the store should be an adventure!

Something tells me I'll be crashing for a nap later...but for now, I feel quite happy to be back to real life. Oh, and I've made the blogger transition to New, Improved Blogger so we'll see how it all goes.

Can quilting be far behind?!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Let the cooking begin!

Last night, feeling fuzzy headed and bleary eyed, I emailed a draft of the pleading I've been writing to Bob, my legal compatriot, then turned off the computer and went off to soak in the bubble bath. Lovely! I was in bed by 10pm, which is hours and hours early for me this week.

But today I am in holiday mode. This afternoon my best friend in the world Beth arrives, then she and my sister and the three of us will feast on cold cracked crab, sourdough french bread, Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) and caesar salad.

My holiday surprise to everyone tonight is MATCHING CHRISTMAS pajamas, so we can all look foolishly festive (or festively foolish) while we sit around after dinner playing games and such.

Tomorrow, my folks, brother, SIL and her mom will arrive mid-afternoon. Dinner will involve herb-crusted beef tenderloin, baked shrimp, cream cheese scalloped potatoes (a new crock pot adventure), salad, and the required raspberry jello salad. Beth is bringing a Buche de Noel (the traditional french chocolate cake yule log, which will amuse my mother no end as she will surely remember my senior year in high school when she helped me make one for my french class christmas party) and Kitt is bringing apple pie.

So, today is all about food. I am off to make the jello, the artichoke dip (another absolute holiday must-have in our family), and two kinds of Christmas cookies. Usually I get the cookies done earlier...but heck, they're getting baked and that's what counts. They're not even needed for Christmas, actually, but for the post-Christmas nibbling.

Caroline is ready to be my #1 helper, and Roger plans on an afternoon nap, which he richly deserves after covering most of the parental duties while I've been locked in my office all week.

Now, where's that butter? Hand me the bag of flour...

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Paper White Christmas

Here's a holiday riddle for you.

What goes rustle rustle rustle, clickety clickety clickety, munch munch munch, zzz zzz zzz?


The rustle rustle rustle? I am wading through 8000 documents for a litigation emergency. I'm not kidding. I have 7532 to go. That's MY white Christmas.

The clickety clickety clickety? Typing the pleadings. They're due on Dec. 29 and I have sworn to do no work on Dec. 24 and 25, so I'm clicking as fast as I can.

The munch munch munch? Holiday cookies, of course.

And the zzz zzz zzz is self-explanatory. Although that's what I'm doing least of this week.

Despite the work craziness, I'm enjoying the festive feeling as Christmas approaches. Caroline is thrilled to be done with school for 2 weeks (and Roger is for 4 weeks). I'm jettisoning things off of the pre-Christmas to-do list right and left with determined practicality. I can always watch White Christmas after December 25.

So, blogging is taking a seat in the way back of the bus, as is the AQ blog ring. (Sorry to all of you with blogs pending...I'll get back to it soon, I promise.)

Meanwhile, I wish all of you the happiest of holidays. Enjoy your loved ones and be glad to be together.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Everything's Coming up Cupcakes

I have gone from being sick and lethargic to being healthy and frenzied. I guess that's par for the course at this time of year, eh?

We are in full holiday mode around here. The tree is up, the decorations are scattered throughout the house ("Why is there a Santa in our bathroom?" Roger asked. His family never was into holiday decorations much, I guess) and lights are strung outside. Shopping is even almost done. My annual late night "White Christmas" movie-and-gift-wrapping fest is not far away.

But first, the show must go on. This year, Caroline has been involved in a wonderful kids' acting group called the Imagination Foundation, and this weekend is their big ensemble performance of 1001 Arabian Nights. Caroline and about 15 other kids have been working for months on this production. They performed Thursday morning for a whole bunch of kids from various schools in the community, then have shows Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon. Thursday was a special thrill because Caroline's classmates, teacher and principal were there, along with various other friends. The play is going off without a hitch and Caroline is discovering the excitement of performing with a group of friends. After tonight's performance, she said the best part was when they huddled backstage for a celebratory cheer.

And those cupcakes up there? I didn't bake those, but it sums up today. I made 4 dozen festive cupcakes and three batches of fudge (plain, pecan, and peppermint) for the theatre bake sale. Maybe I'll be able to face the family Christmas cookies next week sometime.

I am SO looking forward to snuggling into my flannel sheets tonight! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A reassuring surprise

This morning I tried to call a friend in Sacramento, and started to dial her area code, 916. Well, my office phone is getting old and now I find that I have to press the buttons extra hard to get them to register. Well, as I was dialing I noticed that some numbers weren't registering and some were registering double, so I hung up and dialed again. As it turned out, my friend wasn't home and I left her a quick message.

Moments later, my phone rang. It was a police dispatcher. "We've received a 911 hang up call from this number," she said. "Is everything okay?" I realized that my "1" button had registered twice as I tried to dial 916, so I'd accidentally dialed 9116 before I'd hung up. I thanked the dispatcher for checking, apologized for the false call, but explained that it was my phone acting weird and I hadn't meant to dial 911.

Well, just minutes later Caroline came running up to my office (where I was engrossed in sewing) and said that daddy needed me downstairs right away. I headed downstairs, where I found a police officer in our living room. "We got a 911 call from Diane," he said, "and I just wanted to make sure you were okay." Turns out that even tho I had confirmed for the dispatcher that it was a mistake, officers check on 911 calls in person to verify. The officer wasn't going to take Roger's word for it that I was fine, without seeing me. I reassured him that it WAS an accidental dial, and he left.

Isn't it nice to know that a 911 one call (even an accidental one) gets this much assistance?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Odds and Ends

Thanks for all the nice comments about my red and white house blocks. They've been fun to make.

And about those blocks? Some time ago (over a year, probably) I bought this set of templates thinking it'd make the house-construction easy. So, last weekend I pulled them out to use them. Well, although the package doesn't say this anywhere on the outside, these templates only work for the traditional style house if you applique several components. Frankly, this hugely irritates me. The block is perfectly piece-able, and the package didn't provide any clue about this change in construction technique.

So, after some fiddling (and concluding that I was too spacy to try to draft a new block) I found a paper-pieced schoolhouse block, a freebie on the Quilters Newsletter site. So I was able to forge ahead, without that nasty need to cut precise shapes ahead of time.

Meanwhile, on another note, the cats are enjoying our new sofas.

I'm getting really good at getting the cat off in a flash, by the way.

At least Willow cooperates by snuggling on the washable throw. (Isn't it gorgeous?) Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kick start for art quilts

Look what arrived in my mailbox this week! It's a wonderful booklet called "Small Art Quilts: Designing a Series" by our very own Deborah!

I was really looking forward to seeing this, as I know how charming Deborah's work is. And I am not disappointed! It's a great collection of tips and ideas for getting started in a fun, free-form way. And, in typical Deborah-style, there are cool illustrations and fun surprises inside.

I bought an extra copy to donate to my guild's library, by the way. We have a lot of members who want to try art quilting but don't know how to start. And this would make a great holiday gift for your quilty friends! You can order them herePosted by Picasa